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National Assembly fares weakly in representing people: survey

National Assembly fares weakly in representing people: survey

Sep 25, 2017 - 21:42

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A recent survey released on Monday said the Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon performed well in terms of monitoring government’s work and doing legislation during the current legislative year than the previous one, but fared ‘poorly’ in representing the masses.

The survey conducted by the Fair and Free  Election Foundation of Afghanistaninfo-icon studied various topics ranging from National Assembly’s meetings, agendas and legislation, monitoring government’s work, representing people and violations of the assembly’s internal duty principles.

Haseeb Motarif, “parliamentary observation” programme in-charge at FEFA, told a press conference here that the Wolesi Jirga held 66 general sessions -- including the inaugural, one extraordinary, nine questioning or summoning sessions, 13 explanatory or hearing sessions, one impeachment session and 31 ordinary sessions -- so far during the 13th legislative term (7th year).

He said during the same period (from March 6 to July 21), the Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon or upper house of parliament held 36 sessions, including the opening, nine questioning sessions, 11 hearing sessions, and 15 ordinary sessions.

He said the average percentage of representatives’ absence was 48 percent in the Meshrano Jirga and 46 percent in the Wolesi Jirga.

Motarif said the statistics showed a three percent decrease in attendance of Wolesi Jirga members and one percent increase in Meshrano Jirga as compared to the last term.  

He said the National Assembly’s performance making legislation and observing government’s work had improved compared to last year.

He said at the 13th term of the 16th legislative year, 17 law documents including draft laws and legislative decrees, and 12 international agreements were sent to the Wolesi Jirga for amendment and endorsement. Of them, 13 laws were passed, two drafts rejected and four other drafts were under consideration.

However, he said both the houses spent 71 percent of the ‘privileged time’ (a time when representatives present public issues before the house) observing government’s work and 28 percent representing the public and one percent adopting legislation.

The FEFA findings about internal duties’ principles showed 27 percent of Wolesi Jirga lawmakers spoke during meetings, 18 percent didn’t use specified seats, 14 percent meetings went without agenda, 11 percent legislators spoke more than the limited three minutes of time, five percent lawmakers spoke out of agenda or topic, and six percent of the meetings were not controlled by the house speaker.

The study further added 20 percent Meshrano Jirga members didn’t keep silence during meetings, 20 percent spoke more than the given three minutes and 11 percent didn’t talk about agenda.

Motarif said FEFA wanted the National Assembly to take serious matters presented during the privileged meetings and take serious steps for addressing them.

The FEFA also asked lawmakers to be diligent in implementation and observation of internal duties’ principles and the administrative panel of both the houses should announce the list of absent legislators and take a decision on permanent absentees.


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